Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner: Know what’s right for you

Last Updated on 13 March, 2023 by Darshan Chana

When sweat trickles down and the body temperature feels heated, all you can think of is getting the best cooling appliance for your home. Air cooler vs Air Conditioner– If you wonder which is the right one for you, get ready to know everything about the two appliances with me today.

Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner

Let’s be honest. Dealing with Indian summers is dreading. The saddest part is that it’s warm almost through the year. We get so overwhelmed by the thought of winters arriving, but it hardly lasts. You can do nothing about this. But what you can do is select the right device for your home to keep you cool and comfortable under all circumstances.

Not just the cooling capabilities but there are various other parameters to consider. If you want to know the difference between an air cooler and an air conditioner, all the details are right here. Stay tuned.


Air Coolers: How do they work?

Air Coolers: How do they work


Major components of an air cooler:

  • Water tank
  • Fan
  • Absorbent sheet

An air cooler functions on the principle of evaporative cooling. The appliance provides cool air through the process of evaporation. They need a continuous water supply to do so. Air coolers have a reservoir to store the water. This water extracts all the heat from the outside air and guides it through the cooling pad. Once all the heat is absorbed, the water in the cooling pad begins to evaporate, leaving behind cool and moist air. The fan finally sends out this air. The process of absorbing the warm air and sending out cool air is repeated over and over again.

Advantages of an Air Cooler

Advantages of an Air Cooler

  • An air cooler is portable. You can move it from one room to another as per your requirement.
  • It is a budget-friendly cooling appliance. The upfront cost of an air cooler is pretty much affordable to all.
  • Air coolers require no installation process. And hence no installation fee.
  • There is no scope for leakage in an air cooler.
  • Maintaining this appliance is very simple and hassle-free.
  • Air coolers use very little electricity to function. They are one of the most energy-efficient appliances.
  • Air coolers provide 100% fresh air.
  • The appliance can be used indoor and outdoor.
  • Air coolers have no carbon emissions. It is an eco-friendly option.
  • The mechanism of an air cooler is very simple. It only needs water to throw cool air.
  • It is a user-friendly appliance.
  • Due to the fresh air circulation, air coolers are a better option for asthma patients.

Disadvantages of an Air Cooler

  • The appliance requires a continuous supply of water for its functioning. It can be a problem to use an air cooler in areas with a scarcity of water.
  • Air coolers are completely ineffective in humid or coastal areas.
  • The air cooler fan can get noisy.
  • The appliance fails to work in poor ventilation.
  • The cooling is not as efficient and powerful as an air conditioner.
  • The water tank inside the air cooler is a good breeding ground for mosquitoes due to the water being stagnant. This increases the chances of malaria.

Best Air Cooler Brands

Best Air Cooler Brands

To know in detail about each one of them, glance through our blog on the 11 Best Air Coolers in India 2023 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide.


Air Conditioners: How do they work?

Air Conditioners: How do they work


Major components of an air conditioner:

  • Refrigerant
  • Condenser coil
  • Expansion valve
  • Evaporator coil
  • Air filters
  • Compressor

The main objective of an air conditioner is to eliminate warm air completely from the inside of the room. It pumps all the hot air outside and releases cool inside the room. Let me tell you the step by step procedure of how an air conditioner works. It’s always a good idea to know the functioning.

  • Step 1: The warm air inside the room is drawn in through a vent.
  • Step 2: The hot air is absorbed by the cold evaporator pipe. This cools down the air, and the dehumidifier eliminates the excess moisture.
  • Step 3: The coolant absorbs the heat from the air. It turns a cool liquid into a warm gas.
  • Step 4: The compressor unit raises the temperature refrigerant.
  • Step 5: When the coolant flows through the compressor and condenser, all the warm air is pumped outside.
  • Step 6: It is turned back to a cool liquid.
  • Step 7: The cold air is thrown back into the room. It also mixes with the existing air and lowers the humidity and temperature in the room.
  • Step 8: The process is repeated.

Advantages of an Air Conditioner

Advantages of an Air Conditioner

  • The cooling capabilities of an air conditioner are completely unmatched.
  • The appliance is effective even in dry and humid areas.
  • Air conditioners do not require daily maintenance.
  • It is a saviour in extreme heat.
  • The functioning of the appliance is super silent.
  • Air conditioners have a built-in timer. You can pre-set the time when you want the appliance to turn off.
  • Not just cooling, but the appliance is even capable of heating the room.
  • The best air conditioners are equipped with a dehumidifier to eliminate all the moisture from the room.

Disadvantages of an Air Conditioner

  • The upfront cost of an air conditioner is way more than an air cooler.
  • The appliance requires a proper installation process. It involves drilling and grilling.
  • The old air conditioner models emit harmful refrigerants. These can pollute the environment, and so they are not eco friendly.
  • When it comes to energy efficiency, air conditioners can be falling short on that front. They can surely deliver some skyrocket electricity bills.
  • In case of any damage or repair, fixing the issue can be tedious and an expensive affair.
  • Once an air conditioner is installed, you cannot move it from one place to another. It is not portable.
  • The appliance cannot be used outdoors.
  • Air conditioners are high maintenance appliances.

Best Air Conditioner Brands

Best Air Conditioner Brands

To know in detail about each of them, glance through our blog on the Top AC brands in India and what you should expect from them.


Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner: Know what’s right for you

You are now aware of the detailed working of both the appliances. You are also acquainted with the pros and cons of both. Each one of you has different requirements. Therefore, what’s right for you may not be the best option for someone else. In this debate of air conditioner vs air cooler, the winner is different for each one of you. So, let’s compare the two based on the most important parameters.

1. Capital cost

Capital cost

Cost plays a significant role in making a buying decision. You need to be sure of the product suiting your pocket requirements. It depends on the capacity, but you will find the best air cooler options starting from the range of 2,000. On the contrary, air conditioners are relatively expensive. The best window acs begin from 15,000, and the best split acs start from 20,000 onwards.

Which one’s the best option? If you are tight on your budget, hands down, an air cooler should be your option. If not, you are open to both choices.


2. Open spaces

air cooler for outdoor

You can place an air cooler anywhere you like – indoor or outdoor. It is portable and involves no installation process. In the case of an air conditioner, it is designed only for indoor usage. Also, installing an air conditioner is a procedure in itself. It can be fixed only in the interiors.

Which one’s the best option? If you are looking out for a cooling appliance for your backyard or open working space, or any other outdoor area, rule out buying an air conditioner. An air cooler is your only option. However, for an indoor space, you could consider both.


3. Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Air Cooler

Air conditioners consume a huge amount of electricity. It means long hours of usage can deliver ripping off energy bills. This is not the case with an air cooler. They consume ten times less energy compared to an air conditioner. So, using an air cooler for many hours at a stretch will surely not hurt. The energy bills will be significantly low.

Which one’s the best option? Here’s a clear winner. An air cooler is much more energy-efficient compared to an air conditioner.


4. Daily maintenance

AC Daily maintenance

Here’s another factor you must look into before getting any appliance home. Because who has all the time in the world, right? Before using an air cooler, you have to fill it up with buckets of water. Once that’s over, you got to refill it. There’s no way you can use the appliance without doing so. An air conditioner functioning involves no such process. It does require a bit of maintenance, but that’s once in three months, six months or a year. No daily requirements.

Which one’s the best option? We have a clear winner here too. An air cooler is high on daily maintenance work. It needs user involvement. Air conditioners require no daily maintenance.


5. Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions for AC

Air coolers are incapable of functioning in humid and coastal areas. On the contrary, air conditioners are designed to suit all climatic conditions and with maximum efficiency. Also, air coolers can only deliver cool air. But air conditioners can also work as heating appliances. In winters, they can heat the room beautifully, leaving you with no chills.

Which one’s the best option? If you are only looking for a cooling appliance, both should work for you. However, if heating is also your concern, then opt for an air conditioner undoubtedly. Also, be certain about the appliance suiting your surroundings.


5. Eco friendly

The functioning of an air cooler is super simple. They cool the air by passing hot air without having any carbon emissions. This makes the appliance completely eco friendly. The same is not the case with an air conditioner. It cools down the air by emitting CFLs, which can harm the environment and the ozone layer. This makes the appliance less eco-friendly. However, the newer models use R22 refrigerants that are known to be more environmentally friendly.

Which one’s the best option? The newer models of an air conditioner are more eco friendly compared to the older ones surely. But in comparison to an air cooler, they are still less eco friendly.


6. Quality of Air

Quality of Air of Air Cooler

An air cooler delivers 100% fresh air. It pulls out the outside air, cools it down and releases it. Therefore, it circulates fresh air every time. However, an air conditioner recirculates the internal air each time. There are high chances of this air becoming stale and dry.

Which one’s the best option? The air quality released by an air cooler is way more fresh and hygienic than an air conditioner.


7. Cooling Capabilities

Let’s say you are looking for an appliance only to meet your cooling requirements. An air cooler can deliver cool air on a hot summer afternoon, but it has its limitations. But an air conditioner can do wonders no matter what the outside temperature is, no matter how hot and humid it is.

Which one’s the best option? An air conditioner has exceptional cooling capabilities. No one can match that.


8. Noise

You may or may not have thought about considering the noise factor. But it is an important aspect to look into and should certainly influence your buying decision. Due to all the advanced technologies, air conditioners functioning smoothly and produce very little or no noise. On the other hand, an air cooler can be high on noise. The functioning of it will certainly make you realize that the appliance is on.

Which one’s the best option? This one is not even a close comparison. An air conditioner is way more silent compared to an air cooler.


9. Durability

Durability of ac

When it comes to the durability aspect, an air conditioner is sure to last you longer. The best air conditioners can last you as long as 15-20 years if you take good care of them. But air coolers do not have the capability to sustain for that long. Everything comes at a price. In the case of an air conditioner, you are remunerating this benefit.

Which one’s the best option? An air conditioner is far more durable compared to an air cooler.


Air Cooler vs Air Conditioner: Quick Difference

Here’s a quick table comparison to know the difference between air cooler and air conditioner. Let’s run through it.

ParametersAir CoolerAir Conditioner
Water ConsumptionHighNIL
In-built timerNoYes
Installation RequirementNoYes
Cooling capabilitiesGoodBetter
Energy EfficiencyMoreLess
Quality of AirBetterGood
UsageIndoor and OutdoorOnly indoor
Recurring costLowHigh
Daily maintenanceYesNo
Capability in humid areasLowHigh
In-built dehumidifierNoYes


One Last Thought

Now that you have established the difference between air cooler and conditioner, it’s time to make a wise decision. Remember one thing ‘ The bigger, the better’ does not apply here. Prioritize your requirements and then take a final call. Like I said in the beginning, the right appliance varies differently for each one of you. So, you are the right person to know what’s best for you. And if there’s any confusion, you know I am always there for you!

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